Despite working in information technology for 30 years, Fishers resident Kevin Keathley was surprised when Mike Martz, the former dean of the School of Information Technology at Ivy Tech’s Indianapolis campus, thought Keathley would make a good fit when he retired.
“I finished my graduate degree a year ago and thought I would teach a class and came in really just looking for a position to teach a class as an adjunct when I met the then-retiring dean, who, to my surprise, said he thought I’d make a great dean,” Keathley said. “It was shocking at the time because I haven’t been an instructor, but as I came to understand the role it made a lot more sense.”
Keathley’s first day was Sept. 4.
“I think they specifically wanted me to be somewhat outward-facing and to connect with businesses,” Keathley said. “The school wants to be involved in workforce development and getting our students trained up with skills that will get them a good job. We are really focused on that.”
Now that Fishers is experiencing explosive growth in the technology sector, Keathley expects plenty of career opportunities for Ivy Tech students in the forseeable future and beyond. For example, Salesforce in downtown Indianapolis is the only tech company partnering as a cohort with Ivy Tech. The program, whereby Salesforce takes 50 students and trains them with the Salesforce platform, began in March.
“Salesforce is a cloud-based software system that helps manage customers and customer transactions,” said Alan Lewis, chair of Ivy Tech’s School of Information Technology Dept. “They came to us wanting to cater training just for our students to go right into the workforce using their platform. A student would not work at Salesforce; they would use the Salesforce platform.”
The first cohort recently concluded, and already a student has landed a full-time job with Pacers Sports & Entertainment as a Salesforce administrator.
Keathley expects cohort partnerships to emerge within the Fishers tech sector.
“Technical skills are more about the things you can do than the degree you hold. Not everybody’s got a four-year (college) degree,” Keathley said. “The two best technical guys I ever worked with, neither had a four-year degree, and I’d hire them again in a moment. So, how do you find those guys? We’ve talked about internship programs for businesses to get students in and find out who some of the rock stars are.”
Because Ivy Tech services all of central Indiana, Keathley said Ivy Tech would likely be happy to partner with any willing Fishers tech firm.
“I think it’s an opportunity for a lot of winners,” he said. “We get the kids skilled up where they change the trajectory of their life; we meet the workforce business’s need to grow and expand operations; and there’s economic growth for the state of Indiana. Everybody wins. I’m not sure how much I can move the needle, but hopefully a little.”
Indy Women in Tech
Although not a cohort like Salesforce, the organization Indy Women in Tech also has a strong presence within the Ivy Tech Indianapolis campus.
“Indy Women in Tech has a tremendous presence here,” School of Information Technology Dept. Chair Alan Lewis said. “We have the largest chapter of any Indy Women in Tech affiliated school. (IWiT) sees students into the program, mentors them throughout program and sees them out of the program into the workforce. I wouldn’t necessarily call them a cohort, but it’s a program in place here to get our students out into the tech industry, and we’re looking at more of those.”